This text from Paul's letter sums up much of what might be the purpose of our connecting in smaller communities that I'm calling "Families on Mission". Our goals is to be centered upon the Lord Jesus Christ, growing in our knowledge of Him (i.e. relationship with him), becoming more like Him day by day, and revealing Him to the wider community of Port Alberni. We seek to know Him and to make Him known as someone once put it. That is what it means to be the Body of Christ upon the earth. We do this most effectively, when we express His life in us as a family, a group of people committed to loving one another sacrificially.
In practice this means that we hear and listen well to one another's stories, we speak words to one another that edify, encourage and comfort so that the community can be built up in love. We eat together (break bread) as the meal table is the center of Christian worship, the place where we look at one another and get to see Christ being formed. We pray together, understanding that when we pray in unity for the Lord's will, he promises to respond. Our prayers are Kingdom prayers, prayers for the glory of Christ the King that doors would be open to make known the mystery of the gospel, which is Christ in us, the hope of glory. We partner together in life and in the mission of God (true meaning of koinoniaor fellowship)and we devote ourselves to understanding and obeying the teaching of Jesus and the apostles.
Meeting in communities of 2/3 households can help to unleash the world-changing power of the gospel by multiplying our lives in Christ, into the lives of others. Everyone longs for a safe place to be known, to be accepted and to feel like they belong. Where they can mess up and still be welcomed, embraced and forgiven. Where they feel that they are needed and can make a contribution that helps others. To find friendships and relationships that lead to changed lives and fulfillment in life as we discover the greater purpose of living for the glory of God. By definition this means we need smaller expressions of community within Jericho Road ... where everyone gets to contribute and express the life of Christ within.
"No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us." (1 John 4:12) This is how we help to make the invisible God visible according to the Apostle John. Right now, although protected somewhat, we are still in the midst of a pandemic affecting the whole world. It is taking lives and unsettling many, creating fear and despair. There are similarities with the first century and the 'restrictions' felt by the Early Church by the surrounding culture. Yet the Church grew and thrived through the power of multiplication and love. Could not the Lord be presenting us His people with an opportunity to shine like stars in a dark universe, to use a phrase from Paul's letter to the Philippians?
May God give us grace for these things today and may he continue to guide and empower us through His Spirit, for the glory of Jesus Christ our Lord.
With love and prayers,